Smallholder farmers are at the forefront of a new campaign led by the Co-operative Group in association with Oxfam.
Grow Co-operative is encouraging people to sign a petition urging the UK Government to champion smallholder farmers and co-operatives at Rio+20 — the UN Conference on Sustainable Development — this June.
The aim of Grow Co-operative is to help sustainably feed the growing population and alleviate hunger and poverty.
One in seven people go to bed hungry every night and the global population is expected to increase by another two billion by 2050.
The face of the campaign is Betty, a smallholder farmer from Kenya. She has joined a co-operative, and now she can pool her resources with other farmers to grow more food and secure fairer prices.
Around 500 million smallholder farmers in developing countries feed and support nearly a third of the world’s population.
The Rio+20 conference is happening from 20–22 June and the Co-operative Group believe “this could be the first major opportunity to get smallholder farmers and co-operatives firmly on the international agenda".
Therefore they are asking the UK Government to champion: fair and sustainable methods of increasing global food production, the crucial role of smallholder farmers and co-operatives, and increased investment in sustainable smallholder agriculture to lift farmers — many of whom are women — out of poverty.
The co-operative is hoping to get thousands of signatures from campaigning postcards through their own and Oxfam’s member magazines, as well as members taking action online at www.oxfam.org.uk/rio